SCHOHARIE — In a Western Athletic Conference Mohawk Division boys’ basketball race that has Fort Plain, Berne-Knox-Westerlo and Northville all vying for the top spot, Schoharie has suddenly added its name to the list of contenders and on Monday night, the Indians continued piling up wins, posting a workmanlike 62-31 victory over Mayfield.
It marks the fifth win in the past six games for a red-hot Schoharie squad that now holds sole possession of first place in the Mohawk Division with a 6-2 record. Fort Plain follows at 5-3. More important, the Indians are peaking at just the right time with the Section II Class C Tournament on the calendar in February.
“We’re playing great basketball right now,” said Schoharie head coach Shane Barton, whose squad started the 2019-20 campaign with a 1-4 record. “For some reason, we’ve gotten off to slow starts in the past four, five years. I thought we shot the ball really well tonight and that tends to make our defense better. We’re in a good spot. We have five games left with three in the league. We control our own destiny in the league and that puts us in a good spot for sectionals.”
Senior guard Shane Helmstadt led Schoharie with a game-high 18 points, including connecting on 7 of 8 attempts from the free throw line.
For Helmstadt, Schoharie’s midseason turnaround on the hardwood has put his first love, baseball, in the background — at least in the short term. Helmstadt, who will play Division I baseball at Stony Brook next school year as a pitcher, said he’s enjoying Schoharie’s recent resurgence.
“We’ve been hitting our stride lately,” Helmstadt said. “We’ve got a lot of shooters on the outside and that’s opening up some lanes. Everyone is chipping in.”
Schoharie never trailed in the contest, jumping out to a 15-4 first quarter lead and coasting the rest of the way. Mayfield ran off the first three points of the second quarter to cut it to 15-7, but could get no closer.
“Our fast start really helped us,” Barton said. “It set the tone for the rest of game.”
Schoharie led 27-18 at half before breaking the game wide open with a 25-10 outburst in the third quarter to lead 52-28.
The loss for Mayfield puts the Panthers at 1-8 WAC play. The Panthers used a six-man rotation last season and with all six gone, head coach Jon Goodemote has been experimenting with different lineups this season. The biggest loss was 1,000-point scorer Trevon Gifford, who transferred to the Spire Institute in Ohio — the former school of top 2020 NBA Draft prospect LaMelo Ball. Also gone is talented guard Garrett Delaney, now at Saint Rose.
“I basically used just six players last year so everyone is new,” Goodemote said. “This is a fun group to coach and it’s been a good experience. We’re learning. Give Schoharie credit. They have a solid defense and they just created a lot of turnovers. We didn’t take care of the ball and Helmstadt dominated us. He’s strong, aggressive and skilled. He’s a good player. We’ll get better.”
Mayfield 4 14 10 3—31
Schoharie 15 12 25 10—62
Mayfield scoring: Brandow 0-0-2, Dennis 1-1-3, Goodemote 4-1-11, 5-5-15. Schoharie scoring: Barton 4-2-12, Blackwood 4-1-9, Borthwick 1-1-3, Bouck 0-1-1, Craig 1-0-2, Drinon 1-0-3, Griffin 2-5-9, Helmstadt 5-7-18, MacDonald 1-0-2, Scheuer 1-0-3. Scoring totals: Mayfield 10-9-31, Schoharie 20-17-62.
Reach Paul Antonelli at [email protected] or on Twitter @ByPaulAntonelli